More cities issued "trickle effect" to prevent frozen pipes

Many cities are asking residents to keep a faucet running at a continuous, pencil-sized trickle until further notice due to freezing water.
Many cities are asking residents to keep a faucet running at a continuous, pencil-sized trickle until further notice due to freezing water.

CLINTONVILLE - More communities are asking residents to keep the water running all day.

The temperatures, which haven't been above freezing for a month, are creating widespread plumbing problems. As the frost level in the ground continues to drop, communities say their trickle advisory will keep the water in the pipes from freezing.

Folks don't often have garden hoses out in February. But TL Kersten Excavating in Clintonville is keeping water from the faucet running through, so water in its pipes won't freeze again.

“We're on the end of the line for the city. Usually we are put on a trickle when it is cold for a long time. This time we were on a trickle and when we came back the next morning it was just a drip. So as you can see now we're running a hose 24/7,” said Toby Kersten, the owner of the excavation company.

Clintonville issued a city-wide trickle notice Monday: Leave a stream the size of a pencil going until further notice.

“Temperatures are so cold even in the water tank or water towers so normally you get the situation in the shallow pipes, but this year because of the cold water being distributed through the pipes, you're getting the potential to freeze even when you don't normally have that situation,” said Lisa Kuss, Clintonville City Administrator.

With warmer temperatures expected later this week, you would expect things to get better. But the Clintonville city administrator says it could actually make things worse

“Frost goes deeper when it gets warmer, so it will actually create more frozen ground around the deeper pipes that were safe today, that are now not safe tomorrow,” said Kuss.

Right now, Kuss says the frost level is about seven feet deep, around where some of the water pipes are.

While many homeowners are concerned about their bills going up, Kuss says you shouldn't worry.

“We are all required that we give a credit back to our customers,” said Kuss.

Business owners are being patient.

“Like I often say, it is what it is,” said Kersten.

Hoping the trickle they'll hear on the ground will someday soon be the melting of snow and ice instead.

"It'll warm up,” said Kersten, hopefully.

Five more communities added themselves Tuesday to the list advising residents to run their water: Shiocton, Black Creek, Gillett and Lena. Neenah has a couple hundred addresses with a history of problems. If your address is listed here, you’re under the warning.

Green Bay said it has issued a trickle warning to 500 out of its 36,000 customers.

Wausaukee; the City of Algoma; Fond du Lac; Hortonville; Weyauwega; Menominee, Mich.; Princeton; the town of Scott; Oakfield and Kewaunee; have all issued similar orders.